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Why we need more women in science -Part 1

Over the centuries, scientists have influenced us on important issues such as how school educates us, health issues or abortion rights to name just a few. They shaped how we think about ourselves and our surroundings, bodies, and relationships. Science is the story of how we developed from the very dawn of evolution. We believe that science offers us a world that is free from prejudice. Yet, when it comes to women, so much of this world is wrong.

Varying slightly from country to country statistics show that only 10-15% of the engineering workforce, and just 15-20% of engineering graduates are female. They also show us that girls and boys are on average much more similar than they are different across a range of skills. Indeed, girls slightly outperform boys overall in primary school, but there is no difference in secondary school.

Yet, as they get older, fewer girls seem to stick with science.

According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, only one out of three researchers in the world and only 3% of the Nobel Prize winners are female. How do we explain such a gap?

The PISA study found that female and male students have the same success in scientific disciplines during high school. So why is it young girls are not choosing scientific paths once they go into third-level education.

It is not that women are not wanted, there is hardly any kind of institution today, not trying to get more women into STEM courses. Yet many cultural forces continue to stay in the way. As of girls being lead towards other professions such as Arts and Humanities from an early stage, gender stereotypes or sexual harassment in the workplace.

It is still a long way to go to champion STEM to girls and women in order to create more Franklins, Lovelaces and Kwoleks.

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